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A free trade agreement is a pact between two or more nations to reduce barriers to trade between imports and exports. Under a free trade policy, goods and services can be bought and sold across international borders without government tariffs, quotas, subsidies or bans. However, it is unlikely that trade in financial markets is completely free in this day and age. There are many supranational regulatory bodies for global financial markets, including the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, the International Organization of the Financial Markets Authority (IOSCO) and the Committee on Capital Movements and Invisible Transactions. There are currently a number of free trade agreements in the United States. These include multi-nation agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which includes the United States, Canada and Mexico, and the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which includes most Central American nations. There are also separate trade agreements with nations, from Australia to Peru. Canada has signed a series of free trade agreements. One of the first was the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994. Some of Canada`s recent free trade agreements allow workers to move more freely between Canada and its partner countries, facilitate cross-border investment or better protect intellectual property. Together, these agreements mean that about half of all goods entering the United States enter duty-free, according to the government. The average import duty on industrial products is 2%.

In the United States, there is another multilateral regional trade agreement: the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). This agreement with Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua eliminated tariffs on more than 80% of U.S. non-textile industrial exports. Our nation currently has only 11 free trade agreements with 17 countries, but there are close to US$300. Agreements that are in effect all over the world. Many others are being negotiated without the United States. With about 200 nations in the world, the potential to make the show fairer for the United States seems to preserve our competitive advantage and continue to develop our economy through free trade agreements. Trade agreements are generally unilateral, bilateral or multilateral. The United States currently has 14 free trade agreements with 20 countries. Free trade agreements can help your business enter and compete more easily in the global marketplace through zero or reduced tariffs and other provisions. Although the specifics of each free trade agreement are different, they generally provide for the removal of trade barriers and the creation of a more stable and transparent trade and investment environment. This makes it easier and cheaper for U.S.

companies to export their products and services to the markets of their trading partners. Free trade agreements also help prevent countries from applying unfair trade practices to harm American businesses and workers. Free trade agreements would re-evaluate the rules governing U.S. trade relations with other countries. They make other countries more accountable for their actions. Free trade agreements provide opportunities for Australia`s large and small businesses: NAFTA has been supporting U.S. jobs and the economy for more than two decades. Successful NAFTA update negotiations should not reduce the many benefits that this U.S. trade agreement has already put in place. The United States has some of the lowest tariffs in the world and the fewest barriers to trade.


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